What the Lyra constellation can teach you about love

April 19, 2023 0 Comments

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For millennia, people have looked to the night sky to understand the human condition. This influence is reflected in the catchphrase: “As above, so below.” Each constellation, planet, and celestial body was assigned a story and an accompanying lesson that offered insight into our everyday existence.

We are reminded of the blurring between mythology and astrology when the Lyrid meteor shower scatters “shooting stars” across the night sky between April 16th and 25th each year. The meteor shower, originating in the constellation Lyra and visible from anywhere on the planet, is worth the experience for the nighttime spectacle alone. Although it is equally valuable for drawing our attention to the constellation’s myths and morals, as well as its timeless ideas about love and life.

RELATED: How to watch the Lyrid meteor shower

The myth of the constellation Lyra

The constellation Lyra has been described in writings dating back more than 2,700 years. The story of its creation, which has been retold for centuries, centers around the mythical poet and musician Orpheus.

According to the story, mortals and deities alike were attracted when he played the lyre, and even rocks and trees bowed to him and danced. The nymph Eurydice was similarly compelled, and Orpheus, in turn, was captivated by her beauty. They fell madly in love with each other, but their happiness ended shortly after the wedding when Eurydice was bitten by a snake and killed by its venom.

Oppressed by grief, Orpheus went to the underworld with the lyre. He played music so passionately that even the gods were moved by compassion and relented, allowing Orpheus to return Eurydice to the land of the living. They put forward one condition: Orpheus must go ahead and not look back until they leave the underworld.

The reunited lovers retrace Orpheus’ trail from the depths and are about to rise when Orpheus, the first to emerge from the shadows, instinctively turns to Eurydice to share his relief. She was instantly taken from him.

Orpheus spent the rest of his days mourning her loss. His music, once so lyrical, became dark and melancholy. Absorbed in his memories of Eurydice, he remained a recluse and made no effort for pleasure or life.

When Orpheus eventually died and was reunited with her, the gods hung his lyre in the northern night sky as a reminder of his talents and as a testament to his eternal devotion to Eurydice.

What the myth of the Lyra constellation can teach us about love

Most interpretations of the story of Orpheus and Eurydice tell it through the lens of ancient Greek culture and its emphasis on debt and vengeful deities. But what happens when we look at the history of the creation of the Lyra constellation through a modern lens? What can it teach or remind us about love? A lot, it turns out.

Love requires courage

The unconditional love Orpheus felt for Eurydice inspired him to risk his life to save her. True, sometimes bravery takes the form of such grand gestures. Although bravery occurs more often in everyday life. When you pick up on your tendency to be “right” in a situation and confront your less-than-desirable behavior, it takes a certain amount of courage. Love forces you to do this, because otherwise your reluctance to understand and change your path is at the expense of the other person.

Any significant act of bravery is based on vulnerability. This has been the focus of years of research by researcher and author Brené Brown. Vulnerability can feel like you’re sharing all parts of yourself. This can be said even when you are scared or embarrassed. It can be about facing your insecurities and finding acceptance within yourself so that your partner can just love you instead of constantly validating you.

These acts of bravery, reminiscent of selflessness and compassion, can be compared to the concept of karma yoga, the yoga of selfless actions for the benefit of self, others, and relationships.

Love asks us to trust

It has been suggested that Orpheus, returning to Eurydice before they escaped from the underworld, was showing a lack of trust as to whether she had followed him in their ascent. If our relationship lacks trust, it lacks everything.

People make mistakes. We inevitably upset and disappoint our loved ones and vice versa. So with trust comes a measure of forgiveness. However, the problem is not always with our partners. Sometimes it is our own thoughts that are the deceivers. When we spiral into a downward spiral of fear and mistrust of our partner, it’s important to ask, do our imagined scenarios match what we know to be true about this person?

Or maybe our fear-fueled thoughts are fiction? Often these silent and imaginary accusations arise from our own insecurities. When we can’t resolve this within ourselves, our behavior inevitably begins to reflect our distrustful thoughts. That’s when relationships break down.

If we believe that this person is capable of intentionally or maliciously behaving in this way or otherwise taking advantage of our trust, then something else needs to be considered.

Love requires surrender

There is another component of trust reflected in the myth. Before losing Eurydice a second time, Orpheus did the seemingly unthinkable and convinced the gods to undo Eurydice’s death. He was not attached to his own result when he traveled through the underworld. And that is why he was able to bend fate. He trusted in something bigger than himself or his plans.

He trusted in love itself.

Trusting in the benevolence of something greater than ourselves relies on an element of surrender. This can be considered a physical manifestation isvara pranidhanaa Sanskrit term for subjecting our ego and will to something akin to divine orchestration.

Surrender is accompanied by indifference. This ability to be fully present in whatever is happening in the moment is a practice called aparigraha in Sanskrit and is considered the main dogma of Buddhism. And in love it is important.

Love is a force that does not measure

Orpheus’ downward spiral after Eurydice’s second loss reminds us that unconditional love—even fictional love—is a force beyond measure. When love is lost, desolation ensues.

But despite the devastation of grief, we still love. This is what humans are made for.

So, as you look up at the constellation Lyra and see the outline of Orpheus’ lyre or watch the shooting stars around it, take a moment to think about the power, beauty and frailty of love.

About our contributor

Sierra Vandervoort is a writer, yogi, and music lover based in the Pacific Northwest. She writes and teaches all about connection: the connection to the body, nature, and the universal love that holds us together. Sierra’s global network of communities, The Local Mystic, helps women deepen their spiritual explorations, romanticize their lives, and build a community of like-minded people. She loves guiding them to their witchy side, helping them gain the confidence and abundance they deserve! For free yoga and witchcraft wisdom, find Sierra at thelocalmystic.com, on Instagram @thelocalmystic and on YouTube.

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